Sunday, April 20, 2008


So many neat things have happened to me since I first began to explore voluntary simplicity in earnest. Things I never could have anticipated. The coolest thing so far is that as I've meandered along, my focus has shifted away from the personal and more and more towards the global. Some kind of global citizen has awakened in me as I continue to be transformed by this process.

As personal as this process is (and surely different for everyone), I can't help but wonder if there aren't certain universal guideposts along the way. Maybe everyone who commits to a deepening experience with simplicity will go through certain unavoidable stages. Maybe everyone will eventually evolve towards the bigger picture; away from the small self, the egoic self, towards something grander and more all-encompassing.

This inkling is a fairly new one for me. Sometime in the past year I crossed a threshold; I reached a point in my explorations where the old consumer paradigm (well, hardly old, since most of the world is still firmly enmeshed in it) totally shattered. To see the world from outside the current paradigm has been utterly transformative for me.

The oddest outcome of all of this is that I begin to have hope. We live in such dire times; we're faced with so many compounding issues (over-population, loss of biodiversity, climate change, issues of food security and declining water tables, topsoil losses and desertification, the exploitation and suffering of billions of people because of the greed of the few, the end of the carbon era,...and the list goes on). Take a close-up look at any one of these issues and you're bound to feel at least a little bleak. Study them all in-depth for several years as I've been doing and it will be amazing that you can still pull your head out from under the covers every morning. It's depressing stuff. There's not a whole lot of reason for hope. At least not on the surface.

But, through this whole process, I've found hope. I'm still alarmed, but I'm excited now too. I've found a way to think about the future that is positive and life-affirming. It involves us, as a species (but person by person) waking up, busting out of the current paradigm and embracing our full human potential.

I believe that the practice of voluntary simplicity is one of the most powerful tools we have for busting through to the next paradigm. Maybe it will turn out to be the crucial one as well. It's not only a tool for personal transformation, but in a very practical way it brings us into right relationship with the earth. More important than anything else is that we survive this transition and to do that, as a species, we have to live lightly on this earth. Our practical, real actions matter more now than at any other point in our long history. Embracing simplicity is a very noble act, given our current circumstances.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you through this blog, and I welcome your wisdom and the tales of your journeys as well.

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